Well done is better than well said– Benjamin Franklin
Financial Planning is not a tangible item, you cannot pick it up off a shelf and hold it in your hands. That said, our aim is to be able to provide ‘the difference that makes the difference’ in a way that is visible, in comparison to others and in helping clients reach their goals.
We want to develop a relationship of trust that lasts throughout a client’s life journey, as an example through growing asset values, which can then provide an income or estate planning. Clients who sign on to our proposition understand that they are agreeing to our philosophy and service, which is why we do not work with insistent clients, or execution only clients as this type of client would want to make their own decisions so we would not provide added value. Our proposition works best with clients who want to go along that journey.
In 2011 when the business was established, we introduced a simple fee structure and an ongoing service as we felt this was fairer and more transparent. These are a percentage of the funds under management which can be paid from the value of the asset or by the client personally if preferred. None of our fees attract VAT.
The second area was the development of financial planning; ‘products’ are only suitable for clients if they meet a specific goal and solutions can only be developed when you understand what the goals are. Therefore, each solution is specific to the client to aim to meet these goals.
As a client or potential client what can you expect?
To understand an individual’s goals there are three key elements:
- What do they want to achieve?
- What are their motivations?
- How do they intend to fund their goals?
For new clients joining us we look to understand their financial position and what they wish to achieve and how this fits within the short, medium, and long term.
The initial meeting covers these aspects as well as confirming the fees for the services we provide. It is a chance for us to get to know each other, and make sure our philosophy fits their aims. After the initial meeting and information gathering, we will put together a recommendation and go through it with the client at a follow up meeting.
Although the service agreement is signed at an initial meeting, there is no obligation to accept our proposals and the agreement can be terminated with no cost to the client.
This is interlinked with the initial meeting. If we have created a plan with long term objectives, then working together over the long term should ensure this is delivered. If at any point a client no longer requires our services, they can walk away.
We split the ongoing service into five areas:
Clients are contacted once a year to have a review meeting. Life events happen, goals and plans can change. This is a key part of the service plan, and there is no restriction to the number of meetings a client can have.
We are fully transparent, we share our thoughts via blogs, we provide access to our fund manager meeting notes and on a quarterly basis we share market and portfolio information.
We have an on-line portal where clients can get up to date valuations (even via smartphone or tablet), and we also issue half yearly valuations in January and July on paper and electronically as required.
To ensure we can deliver on all aspects of the service we have two qualified financial planners. Both are required to undertake Continuous Professional Development to ensure we can deliver the best possible service and remain up to speed on current legislation
We manage our portfolios and investments and have developed our own proprietary system to review funds. Once a year we “rebalance” the portfolios which ensures that any “drift” in allocation is reset back to the original proportions for another 12 months. As an example, if the value of the UK sector has moved from 10% to 15%, we sell down the excess above 10%. This excess also allows us to add in new investment funds where required.